From MF Husain to Amrita Sher-Gil, this art exhibition has the best of India's modern artists

The exhibition will travel to Hyderabad on April 7.
From MF Husain to Amrita Sher-Gil, this art exhibition has the best of India's modern artists
From MF Husain to Amrita Sher-Gil, this art exhibition has the best of India's modern artists
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Imagine 100 years of Indian modernist art packed into one room, featuring iconic works by some of the country’s most renowned artists from M.F.Husain to S.H.Raza, F.N.Souza, K.G.Subramanyan and Amrita Sher-Gil.

That’s what DAG Modern’s 20th Century Indian Art Auction 2017 is offering to art collectors, connoisseurs and lovers this month with previews in six cities — Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, New Delhi, and Mumbai — culminating in an auction in Mumbai on April 24.

Image courtesy: DAG Modern; Bikash Bhattacharjee, Untitled, oil on canvas, 1987.

“Let’s say that you get a time capsule, an overview of Indian modernism from the beginning to the end of the 20th century. You can see how the art practices change from the realistic schools that the British left us to their opposition which resulted in the Bengal School, and then moved on to the Progressive Art Movement,” explains Kishore Singh, President, DAG Modern.

“So what the art lover will get is an entire history lesson packed, beautifully, we hope, into one room. Each work is accompanied by extended captions so viewers can understand the works and their importance. We also have specialists at hand to walk them through the works, if needed.”

Image courtesy: DAG Modern; MF Husain, Untitled (Shankara), oil on canvas, 1960s.

What’s more interesting about the exhibition is that it also hosts some works that are considered National Art Treasures and cannot be lawfully exported.

“Some of them, such as ‘The Ramp (Standing Musui)’ a large 172-inch sculpture by KS Radhakrishnan, posed interesting challenges. It is a fabulous sculpture featuring 100 figures walking up a ramp with a dominating male figure in the centre. It was very difficult to pack, move around and assemble at each location,” says Singh.

Then, of course, there are treasures such as ‘Maya III’ by M.F.Husain, a figurative from the early 1970s, inspired by Indian temple sculpture as well as a rare self-portrait by Amrita Sher-Gil done in academic drawing style at the age of 14. There is also ‘Peinture’ by S.H.Raza, a work dating back to 1959 that supposedly marks his transition from landscapes to abstracts.

Among the ‘national art treasures’ are Jamini Roy’s folk-style works and Nandalal Bose’s elegant painting of a lotus.

This apart from modernist masterpieces by J.P.Gangooly, K.K.Hebbar, Akbar Padamsee, Indra Sugar, A.A.Raiba, as well as Manjit Bawa, Shanti Dave, and V.S.Gaitonde. There also works by iconic artists such as A.Ramachandran, P.T.Reddy, G.R.Santosh, Somnath Hore and J.Swaminathan.

Image courtesy: DAG Modern; Sakti Burman, Untitled (Girls with flowers), oil on canvas, 1960s.

“The bulk of the art comes from our inventory and so we are able to curate it to show you a selection of works that include still life and landscapes, portraits, narratives as well as mythological subjects by modern masters and what they communicate in terms of their language,” adds Kishore.

“We also make sure that most of the art movements of the 20th century are represented, across regions and across media including prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture.”

As the 75 art works featured in the action are from DAG’s inventories, they will be offered at the auction without the buyer’s premium, at attractive rates.

The preview for DAG Modern’s 20th Century Indian Art Auction 2017 will next travel to Park Hyatt, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, on April 7. For details, contact +9811767459 or email

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